inspired by the book by Yeats

someone who dies in a vision               is like a poet who dies in a poem
summer enters your tower and ascends
you contemplate like a god, rave like a god
number flocks of swans obsessively per millennium             amend
the moon             that order bleeding from thin dark claws
puts a rat through its paces with ingenuity
you grow weary of it all             even for the wise, dying is still death
but writing             that twice-lost stony art
reeks of rot as it gnaws your flesh
you leap into the flames again              like a work discarded

so           we die in you
the only inheritance a marble chair
your seat amid the keening of the blind
one man’s feet           trampling innocent grapes

a vision            you said           that is to imitate ghosts in order to live
to make inquiries            like an old beggar
corpsed on the street          mourned by the incarnadine teeth of savage cats
but a rose smelted out of a poem, now           that shock will always cause wonder

 

– translated from the Chinese by Brian Holton and Seán Golden